Environmental footprint check-in: Cleaning, 2018

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The last post in my 2018 check-in will focus on household cleaning. My philosophy is to keep things as simple as possible and to use one product for different uses.  I use the wooden dish brush in the picture above to clean my dishes. I used to make my own all-purpose cleaner, but I found that I generated too much waste in doing so, and had to buy too many things. I now use a concentrated all-purpose cleaner to wash my dishes and clean all the bathroom and kitchen surfaces. You dilute a small amount with water, so this bottle lasts a very long time. I keep a spray cleaner in the kitchen and in both bathrooms. After every shower, I spray the tiles with the all-purpose cleaner and wipe down with this metal squeegee. I use the spray bottle to clean the toilets as well.  I will eventually buy this wooden toilet brush once my plastic one needs to be replaced. I use rags and flour sack towels to wipe down surfaces.

Because I live with two cats, I sweep the floors regularly with this dry mop, and vacuum once a week. I use this steamer weekly to clean all the floors; I have had it for five years and use only tap water. For a quick spot clean of floors, I use a DIY cleaner consisting of water, white vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Because my cats are allowed to sit wherever they like, I invested in this hand-held Dyson vacuum cleaner for upholstery; it works like a charm on my carpeted stairs, as well. To refresh fabrics, I use a combination of water,  rubbing alcohol, and essential oil. I use a DIY dusting spray that combines water, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon essential oil for my wood furniture.

I use soapnuts that I buy from the bulk store to do laundry; once the soapnuts have lost their saponin, I place them in the compost bin. In the dryer, I use these cloth dryer sheets, which last about two years. I use clothes racks to air dry as much of my laundry as possible, barring sheets. My Turkish towels air dry overnight. Speaking of sheets, I use these made of bamboo; I would love to get linen sheets, but my bamboo sheets last for years, so it might be a long wait.   I handwash my lingerie and many items of clothing (e.g., dresses, cardigans, etc.) with a bar of Savon de Marseille.

As I hope I’ve shown, household cleaning does not require a lot of different products, nor do you need to buy a lot of items in plastic.


2 Replies to “Environmental footprint check-in: Cleaning, 2018”

  1. The day that I replaced “windex” with an e-cloth (which lasts and lasts and lasts), was the day that we all breathed easier in our home. Our condo was built in 1986 when mirrored closet doors were the rage. Most of the owners have replaced the mirrors with wood, but I like to keep the “vintage look” that will most likely come back in about 5 – 10 years. The e-cloth with water cleans all the finger marks. I may add a tablespoon of vinegar to my water in my spray bottle.

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